Forgotten vegetables are popular in the better restaurants. These gifts from Mother Nature offer chefs the opportunity to surprise their guests with original tastes. In line with this trend, Dutch fresh fruit and vegetable supplier Rungis from Barendrecht and HZPC are bringing the ancient potato varieties from the Andes back on to the plate. Very healthy, surprisingly tasty and – because of their special colours – a feast for the eye too.
Food trends according to MasterChef Niels van den Berg
‘Personally, I don’t “connect” to all those trends’, says Niels van den Berg. ‘It’s often rather random. A major trend I see is that the price/quality ratio in restaurants is under pressure due to economic developments. Restaurants can’t do a great deal about that. They often approach it in a positive way by cooking with fewer ingredients. Where a dish often used to be prepared with more than 12 ingredients, the chef now only uses 5. It’s more efficient and the customer seems to appreciate less-complex dishes. What this means, though, is that the quality of the products is becoming increasingly important. Moreover, it’s more difficult to prepare a really good dish with fewer ingredients. This calls for more professional skill.
You often hear about “Dutch Cuisine” these days. This means that more regional products are being used and more vegetables and fruit instead of meat and fish. We also endorse those principles from the socially-responsible entrepreneurship point of view. But 'local’ is better is not always the case. For example, we consciously choose to get our shiitakes from Portugal. They are sustainably grown instead of in heated sheds as happens in the Netherlands. For the same reason, we import products from Japan. Products that are really different or of better quality. That’s what we offer as an alternative. In the end, it is – of course – the chef who decides what products he wants to use.’
HZPC & Perupas
The cooperation between Rungis and HZPC provides an innovative range of special ancient potato variety tastes and colours. For this, HZPC was able to use the genetic source material of the indigenous farmers from Lima. In collaboration with The International Potato Centre (CIP) in Lima, HZPC supports a group of farmers in Peru. These farmers work very hard to maintain the genetic variation of the potato varieties.